Shirley trial delayed till after election

MARTINSBURG – Voters will decide whether to keep Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley in office this fall before his fate is decided in U.S. District Court.

On Monday, Judge John Preston Bailey of the Northern District Court granted a motion filed by Shirley’s lawyers, Kevin Mills and Shawn McDermott that sets Shirley’s trial for Jan. 22. A pretrial hearing will take place Jan. 14.

Jefferson County Sheriff Robert E. “Bobby” Shirley, right, is accompanied by his attorney, Kevin Mills, ahead of his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg on June 18.

Shirley is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law and alteration, destruction or falsification of records in a federal investigation stemming from the alleged beating of Mark Daniel Haines, who was later found guilty of bank robbery, and a subsequent alleged cover-up. The trial had been scheduled to take place next week.

Shirley could face 30 years in federal prison and $500,000 in fines if convicted on both counts.

Bailey found that “the ends of justice served by granting the continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.” The prosecution, led by Assistant United States Attorney Paul Camilletti, agreed to the continuance, according to the motion filed by Shirley’s defense team.

The motion indicates that Shirley’s lawyers need more time to review evidence, which includes two videos, photographs and audio recordings. It also indicates that Shirley may bring in expert witnesses.

“We felt confident that the judge would understand our position, and from his ruling and his remarks, I believe he did,” Mills said. “The way to have a fair trial is to make sure that everybody sees all of the evidence, not just the government.”

“The sheriff is continuing to look forward to his vindication,” Mills said.

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